McKinney York 40 Years of architecture that engages, inspires and belongs
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Celebrating 40 Years of Design!

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, we take a closer look at each word of our mission statement that influences our approach to practice. We create spaces that belong to people through mindful placemaking, identity, and connection.

headshot of Brian Carlson

“As architects we are tasked with meeting the needs of our clients, but we also have a calling to respond to the wider community. We are continually in a posture of listening and learning to create a sense of belonging for those who experience our work, and have found that a project receives its vitality through the contributions of everyone involved – the clients, the users, the community, and members of the design team.”

– Brian Carlson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal


The Montopolis Recreation and Community Center is the centerpiece of the community serving as a central gathering and activity space, and a gateway to the Montopolis neighborhood. Through its materiality and reserved integration into the site, the design reflects the relaxed, unpretentious attitude the neighborhood sought, while providing connectivity and identity through communal spaces such as the gym, multipurpose rooms, and boxing center.

upstairs lobby with view of railings in foreground, building's front windows to the left, and exercise room with boxing punching bags to the right

Montopolis Recreation and Community Center View Project


In celebration of our 40th anniversary, we take a closer look at each word of our mission statement that influences our approach to practice. We create places that inspire people to do and be better through optimistic, thoughtful architecture.

headshot of Al York

“Most of our lives are spent within and around a built environment that shapes our lives and colors our thoughts and feelings. It seems to me that architects have an obligation to elevate that experience. We endeavor to create architecture that lifts and transforms lives by inspiring big ideas and bold actions, or quiet contemplation and simple wonder.”

– Al York, FAIA, RID, Principal


The McGarrah Jessee, an iconic building in downtown Austin exemplifying mid-century architecture, is home to the award-winning advertising and brand development agency. The renovation breathes new life to the building while delicately balancing historic preservation with a level of creative innovation that pairs with its occupant.

image of McGarrah Jessee building looking into red tunnel entrance opening to stairs and escalators towards geometric mural on back wall

McGarrah Jessee Building View Project


In celebration of our 40th anniversary, we take a closer look at each word of our mission statement that influences our approach to practice. We create places that engage people by inviting thought, stirring emotions, and awakening senses.

headshot of Will Wood

“One of our responsibilities as designers of the built environment is to engage our clients and the people that may experience our work. At the most ambitious level, we do that by developing concepts in each of our projects. Through careful planning, we hope our design decisions feel as though they are self-evident, ultimately creating opportunities for that engagement to occur.”

– Will Wood, AIA, RID, Principal


The Rox, Duke, and Danay Covert Admissions Welcome Center is the “front door” for prospective students at the University of Texas at Austin, designed to entertain, educate, and engage visitors while sharing the energy, sprit, and possibilities of the university.

image of Welcome Center at the University of Texas at Austin, wood slat panel wall with longhorn logo detail

Admissions Welcome Center View Project


Over the last four decades, we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate on hundreds of projects, each rooted in our desire to connect people to each other and the world round them by creating architecture that engages, inspires, and belongs.

headshot of Heather McKinney

“We believe our work is better when all voices are heard, and we are deeply committed to improving the built environment through inclusive and sustainable design. As we look ahead to the next decades and our continued growth in central Texas, we remain committed to our mission to create architecture that resonates across the full breadth of people’s humanity – their minds, their hearts, and their senses.”

– Heather McKinney, FAIA, RID, Founder


residence exterior at dusk with lighted interior looking through glass windows into foyer with winding stair

Winter Park Residence View Project

You can explore the studio to gain insight into our design philosophy and approach, or see our ideas come to life by viewing our work.

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Austin Shelter for Women and Children

scroll View Description
  • Closet and bunk bed space.
  • People in building with concrete floor,
  • Seating area with a bright accent carpet.
  • Building with slanted roof.
  • Playroom with space graphics on wall.
  • Child playing with toys inside playroom inside a building.
  • Rear playscape area.
  • Parents and children talking outside of building.
  • Covered patio with bright accents.
  • People outside of small building.

Project Details

Situated in a bucolic corner of East Austin, the Austin Shelter for Women and Children seeks to offer homeless women and children a place of respite and assistance in a natural setting that fosters healing and growth. This project is a renovation and addition to the shelter’s existing historic building, constructed in phases to allow the existing facility to remain continuously operational to serve women and children in need.

A 4,200 sf addition provides crucial expanded bed capacity to assist in serving women and children who are experiencing homelessness. Simple and efficient planning featuring rooms organized as suites via the use of communicating doors allows a maximum of flexibility for different family sizes and arrangements. The addition also contains a generous shared living room, a large communal bathroom with individual shower compartments, and a smaller unisex bathroom for use by older boys within the shelter. A glazed entry and reception area elegantly links the new addition and existing building.

The new standalone daycare center has two classrooms for young children, a nursery for infant care, an outdoor classroom, and a nature play-focused playground shaded by a magnificent live oak and furnished with the whimsical art of Virginia Fleck through the Art in Public Places program. The thoughtful, enfolding design combined with the playful roof shapes creates a space within the shelter where kids can be kids.

The project also includes general site and utility improvements, and approximately 4,000 sf of much-needed renovation and repair work within the existing building.


  • Texas Society of Architects, Design Award, 2021
  • AIA Austin, Design Award of Merit, 2019


  • Texas Architect, Design Awards Feature, Sep 2021
  • KUT, Salvation Army Expands Its Women’s Shelter in East Austin, Sep 2018
  • KVUE, Women and Children’s Shelter Upgrades, Sep 2016